$120,000 Banana Proves Today’s Hip ‘Artists’ Are Out To Destroy Beauty By Nathan Stone for The Federalist
GNN Note – This is something that we have been saying for some time. If you go back to the 1960’s and look at what the “art establishment” was pushing onto the public as “art” and compare it the works from 1860’s or 1760’s you will see a degradation of work that reflects the degradation of society – this is not an accident.
Comedian,’ the $120,000 piece of ‘banana art,’ reminds us today’s top artists define beauty all wrong. Artists are in this sense responsible for the shallow and ugly world we live in today — and nothing about it is comedic.
The art world suffered a tragic loss when artist Maurizio Cattelan’s “Comedian,” which consisted of a regular banana duct-taped to a wall, was eaten by fellow artist David Datuna. The reason for the blow was not so much that the banana had been eaten — one banana is as good as another last I looked — but because the piece had been bought for $120,000. Even that was not the ceiling price of artistic bananas; the price tag for a third “edition” of “Comedian” was $150,000.
Cattelan has a reputation of being the imp of the art world. He has made “art” consisting of golden toilets and giant, extended middle fingers. “Comedian” might have been another joke, but the joke was certainly on Billy and Beatrice Cox of Miami, the couple who purchased the piece. When the inevitable backlash began, the Coxes defended their decision, saying “Comedian” was the “unicorn of the art world” and, “We bought it to ensure that it would be accessible to the public forever, to fuel debate and provoke thoughts and emotion in a public space in perpetuity.”
Here the real problem comes to the fore. A unicorn is a mythical creature for which there is no hard evidence of existence. But a banana isn’t mythical, or even rare. Thanks to global trading, you can buy a banana at Walmart for 12 cents. Duct tape is just as common, and if walls were scarce, people would notice, especially with the dawn of winter only a week away.
What then makes “Comedian” so rare as to be worth $120,000? It’s the idea. Emmanuel Perrotin, founder of the gallery that sells Cattelan’s work, told The New York Times the real reason for the steep price tag was the certificate of authenticity that came with the piece. In other words, it was Cattelan getting the idea to duct tape a banana to a wall and then following through that made the piece valuable.
But Art Is More Than an Idea
This is, unfortunately, the default position of the art world now. In an article for The New York Times, Jason Farago spilled a fair amount of ink to give what he claimed was a begrudging defense of the banana. The duct tape was the element that lifted the banana from the Walmart bin to the art gallery, he wrote, since the duct tape “continues Mr. Cattelan’s decades-long reliance on suspension to make the obvious seem ridiculous.”
His second point stated that Cattelan’s “willingness to implicate himself within the economic, social, and discursive systems that structure how we see and what we value … might testify to his and all of our confinement within commerce and history.” In this light, Farago knights Cattelan a “tragedian who makes our certainties as slippery as a banana peel.”